Ohio U. Refuses to Apologize, Reinstate Computer Administrators

Published: November 17, 2006

ATHENS, Ohio – Provost of Ohio University (OU) Kathy Krendl has decided not to reinstate two university computer-systems administrators who claim their dismissal was unjustified.

In April, the university discovered a long running security breach in their network, which allowed identity thieves to steal 367,000 files containing the personal information of students, staff and faculty.

Todd Acheson, formerly the Internet and systems manager, and Tom Reid, formerly the director of communication network services, were faulted for not taking the appropriate steps to prevent such a breach. They were fired on Aug. 4.

The two men filed grievances stating that they were wrongfully fired, as the administration failed to clarify their responsibilities. The grievance committee found the two men were not culpable for the identity thefts, and issued a recommendation suggesting the university apologize and reinstate them.

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Attorneys of the two computer-systems administrators claim that blame for the network breach could be assigned to other OU administrators. Reid and Acheson, the attorneys claim, had submitted proposals for bolstering network security, all of which were dismissed by the administration.

Furthermore, they claim that Krendl rejected the grievance committee’s recommendation in order to protect OU officials.

The university has since taken precautions to ensure such an incident does not happen again. The security precautions are estimated to cost up to $8 million.

Reid’s attorney says he is exploring other legal options.

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